The outreach team worked consistently throughout the grant period to introduce and to teach Omeka to museum, library, archive, and university audiences at individual institutions and at professional conferences on 50 separate occasions. Additionally, we provided 14 tutorial workshops and offered advice, separately, in countless meetings, emails, and conference calls with cultural heritage professionals across the globe. To ensure everyone we encountered during these meetings, conferences, presentations, and workshops we designed and distributed Omeka SWAG including fliers, bookmarks, laptop stickers, t-shirts, and miniature Sharpies.
To regularly update stakeholders, we write to the project blog and the development Trac Wiki. We communicate with other users using the social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook, and we have a presence on Vimeo and Flickr. Twitter has been particularly useful in reaching user-testers, for collecting feedback, and for announcing updates and newly-released plugins. The team also responds to questions and comments posted to the Forum and on the Google development group.
Since the beta launch in 2008, museum professionals, librarians, archivists, educators, and tech bloggers have written about using Omeka in a variety of contexts including: Electronic Museum, Museum 2.0, and the Association of Science – Technology Centers News. Omeka also received attention and when two museum professionals active in the fields of museum technology demonstrated that a museum website could be built in a day, and they chose Omeka as a platform in their Museum in a Day project (unfortunately, the web domain has not been renewed). After working with Omeka, the project team commented, “The Omeka approach is great – we can’t stress enough how impressed we were with the site, the documentation, the system itself .” D-Lib magazine featured a review, “Using Omeka to Build Digital Collections: The METRO Case Study” in its March/April 2010 issue. Another case study, “Digitizing Civil Rights: An Omeka-based Pilot Digital Presence for the Queens College Civil Rights Archive” was published in the Metropolitan New York Library Council’s 2010 book, Digitization in the Real World: Lessons Learned from Small to Medium-Sized Digitization Projects.
The Omeka team and its growing community earned recognition by winning the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC) in December 2008. MATC awards recognize not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development. Members of the prize committee included Vinton Cerf, often called the “father of the internet” and chief internet evangelist at Google and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web. Committee members singled out Omeka for “involving an international collaborative community from the very beginning of the project.”
We are very pleased with the reception Omeka continues to receive from cultural heritage organizations, including other IMLS National Leadership Grant recipients such as Bringing Oral Histories to Life – Unlocking the Power of the Spoken Word (National World War II Museum) and the Virtual Terrapin Station (University of California, Santa Cruz), who are using Omeka as their project content management system.